By James D Agresti
April 24, 2017
As Just Facts grows in prominence and reputation, an increasing number of scholars, major organizations, and eminent people have cited and recognized the quality work of Just Facts. With this higher profile, Just Facts has also been subject to deceitful attacks. A recent example of such comes from “Media Bias Fact Check,” an “independent media outlet” that claims to be “dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.”
In the opening paragraph of her review of Just Facts, Media Bias Fact Check contributor Faith Locke Siewert writes:
On their article http://www.justfacts.com/racialissues.asp#affirmative, they use the Richard Sander’s (law professor at UCLA) essay “A Systematic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools.” To support much of their hypothesis, obviously against affirmative action (seeming also to support the notion of black intellectual abilities being inferior).
Those two sentences contain three demonstrable falsehoods:
- “A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools” is not just an essay. It is a peer-reviewed journal paper that was published in the Stanford Law Review. Big difference.
- Just Facts does not use this paper to support “much of” its research on affirmative action. The research contains more than 60 footnotes, and this paper is just one of them. Just Facts’ full research on racial issues has 498 footnotes, and this paper is two of them.
- Just Facts does not offer any “hypothesis” in this research, much less “support the notion of black intellectual abilities being inferior.” To the contrary, the opening section of Just Facts’ research on racial issues covers the topic of science and presents multiple facts that challenge that notion.
The flagrant and simplistic nature of these bogus critiques suggests that Media Bias Fact Check is either inept and/or dishonest.
Siewert goes on to write that Just Facts is “a deceptive site because they do use facts, but not all the facts in order to mask their right Bias.” As proof of this, she cites two articles that take issue with the Stanford Law Review paper cited by Just Facts. Neither of these articles appeared in a journal, and one of them is from a publication “written and published entirely by Harvard undergraduates.” Siewert does not even attempt to prove whether the critiques have any factual or logical value.
Worse still, the lone excerpt that Siewert cited from these articles does not even take issue with the facts from Stanford Law Review paper that were presented by Just Facts. Thus, she must not understand the context in which Just Facts cited the paper, or she is lying about it.
By Siewert’s logic, if someone cites a peer-reviewed paper, and anyone argues against it, then the person who cited the paper is “deceptive” and “masking their bias” if they don’t cite the critique—regardless of whether it has any merit or relevance. This inane standard would apply to just every scholar.
Siewert finishes by writing that “a glance at their sister site justfactsdaily.com gives you their right bias right off the top from just the article headers.” That statement is rife with ignorance. Just Facts Daily is dedicated to debunking widespread untruths propagated by major media and cultural institutions, and such institutions frequently spread left-leaning falsehoods. Hence, the article headers are not evidence of bias on our part but evidence of bias on the part of the media and academia. In cases where right-leaning fictions take hold, and no one properly debunks them, Just Facts goes after them as well.
If Siewert has exercised a bare minimum of diligence to read the “About Us“ page of Just Facts Daily, she would see that it “typically covers topics that have not been accurately and thoroughly covered by other organizations. There is no need for us to duplicate quality work that is already accessible, so we generally step in when others have not addressed an issue or failed to do so honestly or competently.”
As further evidence of its untrustworthiness, Media Bias Fact Check has declared that PolitiFact “is the gold standard for political fact checking.” To the contrary, Just Facts has documented that PolitiFact has an extensive record of propagating falsehoods.
Like Doug Wellumson, an educator who teaches a course about critical and analytical thinking at Lakeland College (Wisconsin), Just Facts realizes that no one can be totally free of bias. That is why Just Facts offers its millions of readers a “Guarantee of Integrity,” which reads:
Just Facts is passionate about finding the truth and making it known, and thus, we diligently work to ensure that our research is scrupulous. If, however, you should ever find an error in our research or feel that we have missed a critical fact that alters the implications of any matter we have addressed, please contact us, and we promise to make it right.
The reality of human nature is that people tend to easily accept that which aligns with their preconceived notions but demand very high standards of proof for anything that challenges their presumptions. Just Facts supplies very high standards of proof, and as a result, people with considerable expertise in the issues addressed by Just Facts have complimented its work. This includes, for example:
- a Ph.D. professional measurement scientist.
- a professor of education policy.
- a Ph.D. oceanographer.
- a licensed actuary at one of the nation’s largest accounting firms.
- a manager of several hydroelectric power facilities.
- the head of corporate development for a biotech company.
- a Ph.D. biochemist and molecular biologist.